A Tale of Two Christians

Squeezed April 21, 2005

Honolulu Star-Bulletin editor Cynthia Oi wrote in her column about two Christian women, one who all but dismissed her as a pagan when she found that Oi didn’t go to church, and one who has always reached out to her.

Would that all Christians were like that second woman.

For the record, I am Christian and proud of it. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, and his sacrifice on the cross gives us the opportunity to gain eternal life, if we would accept it.

But I’m far from the litmus-test Christian that the first woman was. My best friend from high school is a practicing Buddhist, as is the fiancée of another close friend. You need not be a Christian to be my friend. The hymn goes, “They’ll know we are Christians by out love,” and it is our duty to show that love to everyone we meet. And I mean everyone, not just fellow Christians.

Oi goes on in her column to talk about how the conservative element has co-opted religion for political purposes. She particularly bemoans how the Republicans have painted Democrats as “against people of faith.”

Well, this person of faith is a Democrat. People of faith and Democrats are not mutually exclusive. And there are groups like the Interfaith Alliance that strongly believe this…that you can have socially progressive views and still be a practicing Christian, or Jew, or Buddhist, or what have you. I believe that religion in particular is an intense personal matter.

I also believe that, if He were alive today, he’d lean liberal. Yes, I’ve see the bumper sticker, “Jesus was a liberal,” but consider the times in which he lived, where Pharisees practiced ultra-conservative Judaism. Jesus went against the grain, and challenged authority, so much so that He was crucified.

Yes, reasonable people can disagree on this. But Oi finishes the op-ed part of her column thus:

Politicians who think that Christians act and react as aggregates sell them short. They are diverse and multifaceted, much like agnostics, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists. Some vote with their beliefs in the foremost, some with consideration of other factors. Most don’t require that all humans adopt their faith to be worthy of friendship.

I certainly don’t.

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